Oct 302006
 
Authors: James Baetke

The CSU graduate and teaching assistant charged Monday for allegedly trying to meet a minor for sex has decided to withdraw from the university.

David Pepin appeared in Jefferson County District Court Monday to officially hear the charges against him of one felony count each of Internet luring of a child and promotion of obscenity to a minor.

Craig Chesson, interim director for Student Conflict and Resolution Services, says Pepin is in the process of leaving CSU.

“At this time, it is my understanding (Pepin) is going to separate himself through the university with our withdrawal process,” Chesson said.

Pepin was currently working toward his Ph.D. in ecology, overseen by the Department of Biology, and has taught numerous CSU courses since the fall of 2000 as a teaching assistant.

Police allege the 37-year-old graduate student tried to arrange a meeting with an undercover police officer posing as a 13-year-old girl, according to Pam Russell, spokeswoman for the Jefferson County district attorney’s office.

Under the direction of the Jefferson County district attorney’s Crimes Against Children Unit in conjunction with Fort Collins police, Pepin was eventually allegedly identified in a Yahoo Internet chat room with the screen name “tongueman30.”

In an Aug. 17 chat, Pepin is alleged to have had a detailed sexual conversation with “Keli,” an undercover officer posing as a 13-year-old girl.

Police say Pepin sent the fictional 13-year-old two photos, both of his penis.

Pepin was arrested Oct. 23 in Morgan Library. He posted a $25,000 bond the next day and was released from the Larimer County Detention Center.

Ellen Wohl, a CSU professor of geology, is currently part of Pepin’s graduation committee and was his instructor in a graduate course. Learning of the charges on Monday, Wohl was surprised Pepin, who she says was “dedicated” and “professional,” would commit such a crime.

“I think very highly of him as a scientist,” Wohl said. “If these things are found true, I would be shocked.”

Colorado’s Internet Luring Law became a law earlier this year, making it a Class 5 felony to communicate with a child under 15 over the Internet in a way that describes explicit sexual conduct and invites the child to meet for any purpose.

Staff writer James Baetke can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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